Webvan Seen as Time Saver in 3 Publicis Spots

Absent from the airwaves during the recent economic slump, online grocer Webvan is returning to television with a three-spot push from Publicis & Hal Riney.

The campaign, breaking now in markets such as Northern and Southern California, Portland, Ore., and Atlanta, is aimed at existing Webvan customers.

The spots try to nudge customers to use the service more frequently by claiming Webvan allows people to pursue hobbies or spend time with their family instead of food shopping.

“We’re going after people who already use and love this service,” said Mike Harris, vp and account director at Riney. “If people didn’t have to make so many trips to the grocery store, they’d use that time to enrich their lives.”

In the first ad, a woman blurts out what she could do if she wasn’t grocery shopping. For example, she is shown in a business meeting, saying, “I want to go to the zoo, but I need English muffins.”

“These spots offer a solution to let people have more time to do what they want,” explained Dodie Sutro Crawford, director of brand management for Webvan. “It’s a clear message.”

“We just want to remind them to come back,” Harris adds.

Spending on the new campaign was not disclosed.

Webvan spent roughly $8 million on advertising in 2000, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Webvan last advertised about a six months ago, according to the company and Publicis.